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3rd Unit : 1st and 2nd Meetings of Study Group Series, “Thoughts on Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence,”

1st and 2nd Meetingsof Study Group Series,“Thoughts on Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence,” 3rd Unit

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  The 3rd Unit has launched ameeting of study group seriestitled “Thoughts on Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence” as a space to gather research result toward the next (final) year.This meeting of study group series aimed to re-examine the social issues that arise from the variety of opinions involved in cultural and religious diversity from the perspective of religion and ideology, and to find abasis of thought for a society ofharmonious co-existence —that is, living together in peace. Through consideration and examination by several researchers at the forefront of  their fields of the issues related to multicultural harmonious co-existence over a broad historical, geographical, and cultural range, it is hoped that fresh perspectives and proposals will be offered to our deeply chaotic global society.2

    The first was titled “Assembly on Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence in Austria: A Trip Report,” and was held on October 22, 2014 at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 6, Meeting Room 3). This was a presentation of research  and reporting on travel that is based on the overseas research project titled “Assembly on Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence and Participation in an International Conference in Austria,” which took place in August 2014. This fruitful overseas research project was presented with slides (for details, refer to the appended materials in this Newsletter).

    Second was a presentation by Kikuchi Noritaka (IRCP Researcher), and Inoue Tadao (IRCP Visiting Researcher, Japanese Red Cross Academy, Governing Board Member, Secretary General) on November 19, 2014 at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 6, Room 6404).

    Kikuchi’s presentation was titled “Can You Display a Kadomatsu at Church?: Conflict, Compromise, and Syncretism in the Spread of the Society of Jesuits in Asia.” The following is a general overview. When the Society of Jesuits began its missionary work in Asia in the 16th Century, maintaining one’s faith had already become an issue for Christians in East Asian society, with the various religious beliefs that had been fostered there. This continues to be an issue in various aspects of daily life in the modern era, at times leading to tension. If we compare statements in Latin literature from the Christian era of the 16th Century with the public opinions of the Catholic Church today, we can see conflict, compromise, and syncretism between European religious ideology and Japanese traditional culture.

   Inoue gave a presentation titled “Humanity at a Crisis: The Universal Value of Society of Harmonious Co-existence and the Red Cross’ Activities.” The presentation assumed humanitarianism as the foundation for the universal value of global, society of harmonious co-existence. It considered the universality and essence of the ideals of the International Red Cross, which performs relief efforts in order to fully realize humanity’s potential, from the perspectives and remarks of individuals from many times and places throughout history. Further, while pointing out the significance of the Red Cross’ activities as a model to clarify the vague ideas of humanitarianism, he also drew attention to the limitations of the West’s humanism, which has brought about environmental destruction with its excessive focus on the interest of human beings or Anthropocentrism. He considered how humanism might exist in a truly co-existantial fashion with the rise of Islam in a global, multicultural society.

   Each presentation was followed by questions, and it proved to be a fulfilling conference that addressed both the ideals and realities of a society of multicultural harmonious co-existence. 3